CHAMPION jockey Damien Oliver is closing in on the late George Moore’s all-time record for most Group 1 wins after he partnered Tivaci to a thrilling win at Royal Randwick yesterday.
Tivaci defied the track bias and came from last with an irresistible charge down the centre of the straight to take out the $600,000 Schweppes All Aged Stakes (1600m) before a crowd of 13,388.
This gave Oliver the 108th Group 1 win of his career, equalling the great Roy Higgins’s record and trailing only Moore on 119. All three jockeys are in the Hall of Fame and Oliver appreciates the enormity of his achievement.
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“To be up there with Roy Higgins and George Moore is a very special, it is an honour to be mentioned alongside those great jockeys,’’ Oliver said.
Oliver, who rode his first Group 1 winner of the season on Tivaci, admitted he took a gamble riding the horse to his usual pattern back in the field as the Randwick track had been leader-biased all day
“This horse, I know from riding him before, if you use him early he doesn’t finish as well,’’ Oliver said. “So we had to hold our nerve and hope he could overcome it — and he was good enough to win.’’
Tivaci ($9) gave Oliver his third All Aged Stakes after previous wins on Hurricane Sky (1995) and Danleigh (2009) when he ran down favourite Le Romain ($4) near the line to score by a neck with Jungle Edge ($13) just over a length away third.
“He did a good job and defied the pattern, they haven’t been making much ground all day and he is a quality colt,’’ Oliver said. “He’s an imposing type and it’s deserved a Group 1 win.
“I would think he is an ideal sort of horse for those races (in Queensland) as 1400m is a great trip for him, he is a nice horse.”
Oliver, 44, was due to leave this week to ride in Mauritius over the winter months but revealed that offer has fallen through at the 11th hour.
“I got a call (Friday night) and at this stage Mauritius is on hold until further notice so I will keep riding here,’’ Oliver said.
Trainer Mike Moroney said Tivaci’s All Aged Stakes win was very timely as the four-year-old is due to stand at Waikato Stud this spring breeding season.
“We will probably have a meeting as to whether we race on or he goes to stud now,’’ Moroney said. “He’s the fastest son of High Chaparral probably in the world, I would think. He’s by a great sire and proving to be a sire of sires too so he’s going to a great home.”
Tivaci ran well for fourth in Chautauqua’s TJ Smith Stakes and Moroney felt the four-year-old was even better going into the All Aged Stakes.
“I was really confident with him during the week,’’ Moroney said.
“I stayed back to watch him gallop on Wednesday on the course proper and he galloped terrific. He just was glowing here today and very relaxed for him, too.
“I said to Olly he was as relaxed as I’ve seen him.”
Hugh Bowman rode Le Romain aggressively from an outside barrier to settle outside leader Jungle Edge until the home turn. Le Romain gained the better of Jungle Edge and looked set to score but Tivaci finished too strongly in the final few strides.
“It was a very brave run, he was gallant in defeat,’’ Bowman said.
Jungle Edge tried hard to lead throughout. Jockey Kevin Forrester admitted the sprinter raced a little keenly with three weeks between runs.
One of the eye-catching runs was from McCreery, who finished strongly late for fourth.
“It was a really good run,’’ jockey Kerrin McEvloy said. “He travelled well early, he just lost his way a little bit in the roughest part, between the 600m and the 400m where he actually lost ground and momentum.
“He regained his action as we topped the rise and finished off really well. The freshen up has done him really well and the blinkers have been a good edition, so he might go to Brisbane.”
LEADING GROUP 1 JOCKEYS
(Australian wins only)
119 George Moore
108 DAMIEN OLIVER
108 Roy Higgins
106 Jim Cassidy
90 Shane Dye
Originally published as Oliver edges closer to Moore’s magic mark
SOURCE: newsnow sport